The Pale Moonlight

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IcyHound
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The Pale Moonlight

#1 Unread post by IcyHound » Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:51 pm

Unlike some night riding is going to be a large part of my life. I work midnights as a police dispatcher and I plan to commute. My ride is a lovely one on wide roads. Some may find this dumb but we all pick our poison.

So begins my journey.

I ride a 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500. I have a new bike. I wanted a new bike. If I drop my bike then so be it. Even if or when I get a bigger bike this one will still be my main commuting machine. I adore this bike. It is also my engagement present so I hope to treat it well.

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Our bikes are finally here...

#2 Unread post by IcyHound » Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:55 pm

I wrote this before I started my class because I wanted to preserve my feelings before I learned how to ride.

------------------------------------------------------

I’ve never ridden a motorcycle.

I was twenty when one of my co-workers purchased a used Kawasaki Ninja EX500. It was a lovely thing to my eyes and stirred the memories of the little motorcycle my father brought home when I was about five. I remember my brother riding that little bike across the lawn and my awe and envy as I leaned against it to look at the shiny gauges and promptly burned a nasty hole in my leg from the engine.

That hole turned into quite the nasty blister and I still have the scar. However, I didn’t care and at twenty I wanted a motorcycle. Fortunately, fate was against me, I had no money and no credit and the class would take six months before I could enroll. I could not buy a bike, I could not take a class to learn how to ride the bike and I now realize I was not yet ready to ride a bike.

It was later, which is also now, that I reached a point in my not so long life, that I could afford a motorcycle. My best friend got the bike bug and went out and got herself a Harley Sportster. I was jeaZlous. That type of raving jealousy where your eyes turn green. However, it was also a wakeup call. I was at a point in my life where my boyfriend and I could buy motorcycles if we saw fit. We could afford the bikes, the gear, the maintenance, and the accessories.

I was excited. Somewhere along the path from twenty to twenty-seven I had and unwanted burst of maturity. It made me want to make sure that I would be a responsible motorcycle rider and that my new hobby… in fact my new passion would not infringe on my financial situation.

Of course I would have to do the proper thing and sign up for MSF. I had glanced at the local community collage’s enrollment options now and then over the years but I had never taken the plunge. I had not been able to afford a bike so why take a class when it would go to waste? Almost every motorcycle I saw tugged at me, but I had not been in a position to even think of taking my MSF class much less of buying a motorcycle.

But now, as I logged onto the local community collages website I was excited. I would sign up! I would take my class and buy my motorcycle. I would wait for months? The third thought was not there until I read that enrollment was filled and would be filled until the spring semester.

It was august, and I would not be able to register for class until December. It was with dejection that I told my boyfriend this news. He too was saddened, but we resolved to get into the first class in the spring. We would spend these next few months reading books and the internet, visiting bike shops and in general learning the basics of this hobby. There was a lot to learn so the time would not be wasted.

And so we waited and we waited. We read and we wandered to shops and we looked at bikes. We had the thoughts of starting with 600s dashed from our heads first thing. When we woke up the 250s and 500s where much more appealing. We decided on gear from head to toe and a stack of magazines and books where on the table.

And finally December crept forth.

It was a warm December. In fact the entire fall was unseasonably warm. I felt that someone was mocking me, their hand over their mouth as they snickered at my agony. And agony I was in. I saw motorcycle after motorcycle, day in and day out commuters and pleasure riders. I saw them and they did not see me, because I was trapped in a car and they rode in freedom.

I’m surprised that I was not pulled over as we sped to the community collage and enrolled the morning of spring registration. I had called twice over the past two weeks to make sure of the date and time. I would call more but I did not want to be listed as a stalker and my number blocked. When we reached the office we found out that the first two weeks where already filled. The first date would be March 30th.

Pained, we accepted. After all, we had waited since August; March was not that far off. We would now start to buy our gear. We had spend months reading reviews and trying things on. We where ready.

However, time started to grind to a standstill. Somehow the days ticked past, yet each covered at least a weeks worth of time. We had decided on the bikes to buy. A matching pair of Kawasaki Ninja 500’s. We would get them before we took our class so that we could start riding immediately.

Some would say it was a bad idea, but frankly, I am a sport bike girl. I didn’t want to ride cruisers although I appreciate their beauty. I wanted to ride a sport bike and that was that. I had decided on the 500 over the 250 after months of thought and decision and plenty of sitting. So it was with pleasure that we went to one of the local bike shops and picked out our bikes.

Others would say to buy used, because after all if you drop the bike it doesn’t hurt as much on a used bike. After the fifth or sixth time someone crammed the buy a used bike down my throat I asked them, “Where do used bikes come from if no one can buy a starter bike new? If I want a bright and shiny new toy to break then I will buy a bright and shiny new toy to break!”

They where delivered, three weeks later. I didn’t want them home to soon. The temptation would be too much. A few weeks of class would be fine. After all we had already suffered this long. I’m sure there where more things I’d done wrong at some point in my life that this suffering would pay for.

However the day they arrived we had to try them out. Our driveway was gravel. We had plans to have it paved a few weeks later, but the dates where not meshing as smoothly as I would like. It was into this gravel that I slowly backed my brand new possession. It was into this gravel that I cranked her on for the first time. It was into this gravel that I realized I had never ridden a motorcycle and had only a small clue, acquired from months of reading, on what to do.

I learned that I did not know the throttle went down. I had assumed it went up.

I learned that the bike is much bigger then it seems.

I learned that gravel was not as nice to a motorcycle as it was to my Wrangler.

I learned that I had to relearn how to control my own body and its responses.

And I was addicted. My first slow clutch held stuttering trip down my driveway was enough. I was hooked. As I heaved and wrestled my machine over the grooves at the bottom of my drive to turn around and rode back up the driveway with my feet on the pegs and my bike solidly in first I knew that I was in love.

And that I would have to put the bike away.

Passion can make us do stupid things.

I only had to wait two more weeks until my course… I could do it… right?
Last edited by IcyHound on Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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First Choices and Reality Checks

#3 Unread post by IcyHound » Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:56 pm

I was cautious when I decided to get my bike. At some point I had become a rather patent person. This was not always a bad thing and in fact it was a good thing when I first went to sign up for msf and found out that it would be at least nine months until I could enroll.

Ouch.

However, that same problem is what caused a co-worker to break a leg. I have not bee at my current job that long. One of my co-workers recently came into the office and stated that he would be excited to have the weekend off so that he could get on his bike. Someone asked him what type of bike and he said, “Motorcycle” and I perked up.

Having had my motorcycles for all of three days I felt a visceral excitement whenever someone mentioned that they too had a bike. I felt that I was one of them now. No longer someone that said they where getting a bike. I was someone that had gotten a bike.

He then said he had just come back on duty after several months off for injury. He had wrecked and broken his leg. Ouch. I stared at this man and asked what he rode. A Kawasaki ZX600R. Nice a big bike.

“What happened?”

“I was coming out of a turn and lost the rear, slid into a curb and went airborne.”

“Oh.”

He said that he had not known his leg was broken for hours. He had in fact gone to the hospital because his kidneys hurt. It turned out that the sore leg was a shattered tibia. Nice. He had gear on. Not leathers but gear at least, which is much more then others.

“I just got a baby ninja,” I told him, proud of myself. “But MSF is not for another two weeks.”

“I didn’t go. I went to sign up and I found out that it was going to be way to long. So I did it the hard way and learned to ride. I’m glad that I did because I learned to ride in a lot of traffic and it really thought me a sense of awareness.”

“Ash,” I said. I had to bite my tongue. I wanted to look at him and tell him that he was a moron. I wanted to tell him that for someone in his profession he was an idiot and I was pained. I wanted to jump onto my desk and tell him that he had placed himself in the highest percent range to kill himself and I hope that he was happy with himself.

I didn’t thou. It was too late. I did attempt to convince him to try out the MSF class. I feel stupid however, because I don’t even ride yet. Still it doesn’t hurt. But no, he has already learned, he feels.

Lovely.

And he knows he is riding above his limits but he loves it. He plans to go to the track at least. That should help to sort him into what he needs to know. Or at least show him what he does not know.

Yet I scratch my head. In my handful of trips up and down my driveway I have learned that a 500 is a lot of bike. It does not help that my driveway is not paved and all I have is gravel. I have to be careful, very careful. I am careful I am enjoying myself. I can not see taking my course and even if I fail not wanting to ride. I was bitten the first time I got up the nerve to go down the driveway.

He told me that I needed to get my learners permit. I was like no… not really. My class is only in two weeks and I don’t need my permit to pass the class. I figure, why even give into temptation? I felt stupid enough for even taking the bike out on the gravel when I had never touched a motorcycle before. Would temptation to legally get out on the road take over?

It might.

I had a lot of self control.

But I do admit that I am also obsessed.

And he left to finish his rounds. I stared after him, puzzled. This was someone in a profession that requires 2-4 weeks of training a year. It requires at least half a dozen recertification’s a year. It requires a steady mind and a lot of forethought.

So why had he decided to hop on the back of a super sport motorcycle?

What insanity drives us from what might normally be considered a rational mind?

I don’t know.

I worry about myself at these times.

This is the first person I have spoken to about motorcycles since the bikes came.

And it is like everything I have read on a forum has been confirmed.

It is almost scary in a way.

But reality checks are good things.

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Love your Manual - Read your Manual

#4 Unread post by IcyHound » Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:59 pm

Laying on the couch reading a sportbike forum I heard my boyfriend go, "There are two trip counters!"

"Two?"
"Yeah, one with the odomoter and one in the rpm guage."
"That makes everything easier to monitor gas usage and milage thats cool."
We where actually excited. My boyfriend has a thing for trip counters. He always resets his when he fills up and when he goes places. I am much more relaxed about this, not caring very much what my milage is. I tend to look down to check when my next oil change is.

However, our bikes do not have fule guages. Once I was able to absorb this concept, I rbecame obsessed with the bikes trip counter. After all I needed to know when I needed gas. I twas fine to ahve a trip counter. After all it would roll around and eventually tell me when I needed to get gas. It was almost as good as a gas guage, it was just a bit more work on my part.

Having a paranoia of breaking down int he middle of no where, I had become a bit obsessed with the fule guage. I muttered at times about the lack of a guage. How hard where guages to install? I acutally had no clue but I figured it couldn't have been so horrible that we didn't have one.

Later I came to learn that it was somewhat complicated. The shape of the tank ment that hte guage did not acutally read true. This was a bit disheartening. After all, I had paranoias to deal with. How was I to move beyond them if I didn't have a guage?

Well I'd have to pay attention to my trip counter.

This ment that we trundled out to the garage and admired our bikes once again. Who said that baby ninja's where ugly? They where elegant, espcally from the rear. I was not one to care for the cycloptian light in the front, but it held a certain big eyed charm. The light was rather bright as well. We studied the horn and the light adjustment. My boyfriend demanded that we go and get bigger and louder horns for the bikes.

The manual told us a lot. It even had washing directions. Don't get water into the exhaust. That might make sense, but how many of us have vehicles where we weorry about the direction of the exhaust. These tiny tidbits made sense. The manual made sense. With it in hand we went over our bikes and we learned things we might never have noticed.

Our bikes had parking lights. What the use for said parking lights are I still don't know. It also warned us that they would drain hte battery. What we would do with them was a mystery but we had them and we knew that we had them. In that knowlage was a power that led towards a comfort level. We where understanding our new toys.

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MSF: Day One

#5 Unread post by IcyHound » Sat Mar 31, 2007 5:01 pm

MSF: Day One

We got there on time...

Tim's flight from Boston came in at 10:40am Friday morning. I was cursing his boss as my fatigued boyfriend staggered over to me. He had been up all night because the company that needed them kept calling him. Plus, in the end, the go live failed because their code had problems. Thanks.

I had stopped at the community collage on the way to get Tim. I got a parking pass so we would not have to use the coin machines and I found out where the class was going to be. One would think they would tell us this ahead of time, but no, they did not. I had to convince the lady at the continuing education office that indeed there must be more then semester passes (55 dollars) she sent me to the business office and said I could see if they had temp passes.

Low and behold, beside the business office was the parking office. I got my 3 day pass for 18 dollars. Pricey, but it would have cost as much at the machines for .75 cents an hour; quarters only.

Class started at 6:45pm. We got there at 6:25 making sure we had left the house with plenty of time. Class only ran from 6:45 to 10pm today for book stuff. We took our gear anyway, as did many others. However one guy did come in shorts. That was strange because the paperwork said to come prepared and wear jeans or leather pants.

There are 12 of us. It is an interesting group. Including Tim and I there are 3 couples. We are in 3 groups of four. Where we sat was random. We also named our groups and wore masking tape nametags. We where told that he would securely lock said masking tape up, so that there was no chance of someone stealing our high tech identification.

The Harley group- Group Name: Doug's Girls - They did not realize this when they sat down that there where a lot of Harleys.

Doug - Been riding for 20 years. He has a Harley Electra Glide with some huge CC displacement. He hasn't ridden in a few years.

Doug's Wife - She has taken the MSF last fall and failed. She has a 1200 Sportster. She got her permit after one failed attempt and now is back for MSF the second time.

The cute blond - Single and pretty she has a learners and rides a 1200 CC Harley as well for her first bike. Seems like a lot of bike but I know cruisers are different then sport bikes. She is looking for confidence.

Ferrari Woman - Nice car, very good natured and nice person. She has never ridden before and is here to learn.

The new group - Group Name: Brick Wall (they are worried about this and them impacting such things and felt it was an apt name)

None of them have ever ridden.

The couple - Cat and her husband. They have ridden a moped. They want to learn to ride.

Dude who came in shorts - He was very quiet has never ridden.

The third dude - Good natured and also new.


The sport Bikes - Team Name: Bullwhip (my fault when I introduced myself and told them I would take Tim down if he rode on the road before class with one)

Donnie - Rode sport bikes for 15 years without a license. Now has a 1980 Harley. He technically lives in MD but hasn't changed his license over. He is in class to get legal thanks to Jeff.

Jeff - Donnie's co-worker. He rides a Ninja 250 and has for a couple of months. He is here to get a license.

Tim - Prior experience in the UK on a Kawi 125 from about 10-2 years ago. Rides a Ninja 500 now.

Me - I have managed to go up and down the driveway, also with a Ninja 500.

Our instructors are both experienced guys with 30 and 40+ years riding experience each. They introduced themselves in rather amusing ways. One said that the other had been riding before dirt. The other retaliated by reminding him he had to learn to emergency swerve around dinosaurs. Both are very enthuastic, good natured and want us to learn and do well. Their theory is everyone they train successfully is one less person out there to kill them.

We ran through the little movies and the book. It felt like a lot of information but I also feel that I've retained most of it. Two of the most amusing moments where when we where discussing insurmountable objects. Our instructor pointed our that Deer where not surmountable objects. Someone said "they are not"? To which Cat replied: "He did not say MOUNTABLE objects."

The second was when we first discussed breaking into a corner and he explained that the pucker marks in your seat would go down after an hour or so.

It seems to be a good environment. The bikes are new or rather new from what they said. We are starting at 7:30 today. We need to be there at 7:15. So we will get to ride all day long which is very good, but I suspect there will be much tiredness at the end of the day. I am prepared with aleive and a hot bath. I had the worst time sleeping. We didn't get home until 11, ate pizza and went to sleep but I was awake every 2 hours checking the clock. I don't want to oversleep and miss this. I have been waiting for this since August of last year. In some ways it does not yet feel real that it is starting.

Right now I am so wired I am not sleepy. I've been rolling riding over and over in my head. I'm ready to get out there and try.

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MSF: Day Two

#6 Unread post by IcyHound » Sat Mar 31, 2007 5:02 pm

MSF: Day Two

We got up at 5:00am…

Or at least I did. Tim managed to stay in bed until 6:19. I didn’t harass him about it considering he had only managed about 3 hours during the night, coupled with the 3 hours from the previous day. I was up and down all night waking up, ready, and eager, scared about everything.

We did get there on time, again. We changed at the car (I didn’t want to ride in my boots, I have full on race boots) and wandered over. The instructors had 14 bikes out and tested everything before they turned them off and class started.

The first thing I noticed was gear. Tim and I had our boots (we both wear Oxter) and the cute Harley girl also had bike boots with the shift pads. Everyone else had regular over the ankle boots or Harley boots without shift pads. We where also the only ones in armored jackets and armored Velcro gloves. Everyone else had soft slip on leather gloves.

The bikes where mostly 250cc cruisers. There where 3 200cc dual sports and one 250 ninja. Tim, I, and the guy who used to ride sport bikes jumped on the 200cc bikes. The other sport bike guy from our group took the ninja, which he rides right now. He at least gets to apply this directly to what he has. The cruiser people where very happy to go to the cruisers.

And class started. We walked around, pressed, pulled touched and in general met the bikes. I stared at the cracks and dents in the various machines. We are not alone in our newness I realized. I knew the basics from my own bike, but it was pleasing hearing it all again, touching turning and going over the basic routine. Learning about moving your bike to check if you are in gear vs. neutral and such things.

We got to walk the bikes to our starter cones. This sucked. I was the third one from the end and the parking lot had a slight up tilt. My bike was high. Not to high but high enough when pushing it uphill with no power across a parking lot. I was mildly winded at the end.

We got off and got back on and started playing with the friction zone. I loved this exercise. One of my main worries is just getting the bike to go forward from a stop. I drive a manual vehicle, but I still worry. So with glee I rocked from heel to toe and back, getting a feel for my bike. It built confidence, and it built it fast as each time the bike kicked in for me. Also, I realized, it helped with the initial fear of the throttle. The throttle can be manipulated, and even better manipulated by me, the rider.

I am pleased to say my hand position was good. But the bars where high which made it easy. Learning not to look down or at the controls is also good. I wanted to so bad and kept repeating in my head, “Head up! Head up!” which sadly made me think of my parrot who constantly repeats the command, “Step Up!” when he wants attention.

Power walking went well. It was hard not to put my feet up and take off. The turns to get back into position where useful. The manipulation of the bike does build a confidence. The bike is not going to attack randomly. I am in control of this.

When we finally got the go ahead to ride with feet on the pegs is when the various abilities started to show through. Still, this was the start of class but it was later that things fell apart a bit when it came to skills.

After we went straight we got the next exercise. Two lanes where we would ride to each cone stop, and ride and power walk around the edges. As the cone in front of you was free you went. This was good and it progressed into riding a straight distance and power walking through the corners. These exercises proceeded smoothly with no delays, no stalls, no drops, or anything like that.

It was when we moved to the weaves that things started to fall apart.

We did the weaves in 2 groups of 6. The first weaves where straight. Each side had a different distance. In the center was a clutch control lane you are supposed to work through slowly. At the end of that you are supposed to go in the lane you did not go in last time.

Things got to be a bit messy. People are new and such, but things like go into the opposite lane where foreign to a few. I wound up behind the lady who had failed last time and I started to see why she might have failed.

She was slow. Very slow. I kept riding her "O Ring" and I didn’t mean to. She crept through the weaves, over shot the turn to go to the middle and in general she crept through the course. I kept winding up behind her and I was getting frustrated. Just as I felt the weaves and my bike become one, I’d come up to her, have to slow down, go wide, correct myself, get jerky miss my T and in general turn into a sloppy mess. The times I got away from her the instructor complimented my weaves.

Then we got the staggered weaves (forget what they are called) a bit harder and I was pretty sloppy. Sometimes I nailed them, sometimes I meandered through, and twice I just messed all the hell up. However I did each side about 5 times and I nailed at least 2 good ones, 2 medium ones and 1 bad one per side. Not that bad I think. I wasn’t unhappy or happy, I felt the improvement.

The day was starting to get good. A bit more speed, learning the feel of the bike. I found that I was not timid about it. I tried it and if I messed up a shrug and a chuckle and I kept on. Freaking out isn’t going to help me learn, just trying to incorporate everything we learned.

However, I kept getting behind this chick that had not passed and she kept slowing me down. Then Ferrari lady was having problems with speed. She was very hesitant and she eventually dropped her bike. I saw her going over but she got a foot down. Instead of getting her other foot down she kind of held it into the air and the bike and she went down in slow motion with her leg under it. Fortunately, the big fat tank took all the damage and she crawled out from under it. One of the instructors comes shooting over from the other side of the course and I watch gas spurt out of the tanks cap in fascination.

I went around her since the instructor is there and kept working my weaves. I improved, not great but I improved.

After the weaves the instructors asked us to remember to hit the T’s at the end. I didn’t have a problem with that as that I had been TRYING to hit them and doing a much better job then the first straight weaves. I started to look through my turn and look where I wanted to go and I found I trusted the bike a lot more.

Next was a big loop with everyone riding into second gear. This wasn’t going well at all. About half the class was not putting any speed into the bikes. Those of us that where trying to really increase our speed found ourselves bunching up behind slower classmates. The instructors where asking them to speed up but they where not.

I’m tired and my mind starts to jumble. We did lots of other circle and speed and turning type things until we actually got to the arched corners. We where to stay in second the entire time and do the Slow, Look, Lean, Roll around it. I wound up behind the lady that had failed her previous course again and I was actually surprised. She was very slow into the corners; she cut them and barely made a single smooth angle. She wasn’t leaning the bike, she was turning a bit. Also the other three ladies and two of the guys where having problems with putting speed into it. One of the girls was curving out before she went in and in general there was very little use of speed.

The corners I did get where wonderful. After the first lap I focused on looking and leaning that bike while I got on the throttle and feeling it flow around the corner. Good stuff. However, I kept bunching up behind my classmates who where fighting their bikes lean. The instructors wound up doing a few counter steering displays as they attempted to get people to trust their equipment.

When we got to the exercise where we switched into third I got frustrated. The problem was I got maybe 2 or 3 decent switches up into third on the corners. The rest of the time I simply could not get the speed up and maintain it. Except for me, the other four females in the class where crawling around the course. Two of the guys who had never ridden where also crawling and honestly it was frustrating. It felt good to actually get some speed up and flow through these corners. Counter steering worked and made sense and once I relaxed the bike and I just flowed through them. Simply lovely.

The last exercise was the emergency stops. Our instructors are brave men with great agility as they dodged several times. I pegged every stop but my last one when my foot slipped off my shifter. The first two I kept looking down but then I focused straight ahead of me. It’s a very weird sensation. I listened to the lady that had not passed last time complain to her husband (and almost run me down to get next to him) about how she was not comfortable and the pegs where to small and nothing was right and it was giving her a hard time. I had much smaller pegs and levers and I was managing just fine. I watched her creep her bike around. I didn’t get it. I figured she’d had the course before she’d blow through it.

The lady that fell over had a bit of a breakdown. She just stopped and wouldn’t go down the course to do her emergency stop. She kept saying “I don’t know what to do; I don’t know what they want me to do!” So one of the guys went and talked with her and got her to go again. Another of the ladies was having problems figuring out what gear she was in and kept freaking out as she came to a stop. The cute chick was more timid then I would expect someone with a big bike and several months riding with a learners to be.

Timid was the name of the game today. At lunch they had to convince Ferrari lady to come back. She was really depressed from dropping her bike and not being able to handle herself. She was intimidated by her bike and it was causing her problems.

Some of them also complained that the instructors stood in front of them. They felt they should stand to the side. They didn’t understand that meant they would ride to the side. There is a lack of understanding about looking where you are going. The married lady without experience kept saying she was going to fail because she wasn’t getting it. The lady that dropped her bike may not be back, and the lady who has taken the class before blamed everything under the sun.

After lunch was the last bit of the work book and the test. That went nicely until the test. Lady who has taken it before said that last time they got to take the test home. The instructor was like “well that is silly, isn’t it?” and all through the test she kept moaning over the questions. “Oh god I remember this question,” she moaned. “Then you should know the answer!” someone else said. “I’m going to skip it and come back to it. God I’m going to fail, can’t I take this home?” Again I am in shock. I figured she’d bang the test out having taken it before.

Anyway, I got 100% on my test. I was proud of myself. Now only one more thing to worry about.

An annoying side thing was the smokers. About half the class smoked and every break they smoked. It seemed the wind was chasing the boyfriend and I down. We had so much ash and smoke blown in our faces today it wasn’t funny. We ducked and dodged and avoided.

Sigh.

Tomorrow we do the boxes, swerves, and the obstacles and take our test. I’m excited and worried. Some moments I am sure I have it in the bag. Others I am sure I will mess up at the last minute and fail. All in all I think I will pass okay, but I want to pass so bad I am sure I won’t pass just because I am a pessimist. One can’t just suddenly become an optimistic.

I just wish that my classmates had not fought speed and the bikes so much. There was a lot of fighting the learn and fear of speeding up. I had already decided to throw myself into it. I am only going to learn by doing.

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Re: MSF: Day Two

#7 Unread post by Scoutmedic » Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:07 pm

Great posts! Thanks for sharing.
IcyHound wrote:MSF: Day Two

There was a lot of fighting the learn and fear of speeding up. I had already decided to throw myself into it. I am only going to learn by doing.
Great attitude! I think every class has problems with some of the learners being timid. I know my class did anyway. Stick with it and you're going to do great!

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#8 Unread post by Apollofrost » Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:24 pm

Rock on, I'll be taking my MSF in a few months.
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#9 Unread post by Wrider » Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:44 pm

Nice! Congrats on successfully completing the first two days! Definitely let us know how the last day turns out!
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MSF Day Three

#10 Unread post by IcyHound » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:23 am

Today we accidentally got up at 4:30

We have those auto set clocks. They are great but they where not DST compatible so we moved them forward. Well they decided that it was time to move forward and the alarms went off at 5:30. It was about half an hour later, downstairs, on our computers, that we realized what had happened.

As for class. The short story is that we all passed.


The long story…

My mind is jumbled. I tried to start writing this last night but exhaustion and exhilaration where at war inside of me. Amazing how tired we wound up, in the end. It was not really *that* long, yet when we staggered out Sunday afternoon I was sure it was around six pm.

The weather prediction for Sunday was rain. It was cool and overcast. Many of us where a bit chilled as we huddled around our bikes. The boyfriend and I made sure to nab our bikes from the previous day. The little duel sports where doing so well for us that we both are debating buying one in the future. They may be ugly but they are so capable.

Ferrari woman and I talked. She felt that she was going to fail the class. She had gone home and told her husband she had dumped the bike and said the look of horror on his face was priceless. He had offered to let her ride on his and she asked him how she was going to ride his enormous 1800cc Harley when she couldn’t handle a bike in class? She also felt the course was moving to fast. She couldn’t keep up because she was having a problem interpreting things to words she understood. Roll on the throttle = give it gas and etc. Seems her husband also did not think to go over his bike with her. She had been riding on the back and assumed that she knew. She was planning to go and take Harley’s riders edge because she felt it would go slower and she would get more personal instruction. I suggested she talk to the instructors. They don’t know she is having issues if she doesn’t tell them.

We got to warm our bikes up and take them on a few laps around the range. I was very excited from the day before, but this started a somewhat bad morning for me. My bike kept dying it was so cold. Choke out, sitting idling, apply some throttle and zot. I missed the first half dozen laps around the course and felt like a moron as it died on me several more times.

Eventually I yanked the choke all the way out and took off. By the time we stopped in a single file line I had enough warmth that I was able to turn it down. However, I had to leave a small bit open or it would die on me at idle.

Our first exercise was the box. I stared at these blue lines. I didn’t feel to bad, I could do this. We where split into two groups of 6 to do the box. I watched some of my class mates do it and I felt okay.

Until I got into the box. My self esteem went from ‘I can do this’ to ‘You are the most pathetic fuckup ever’. I was absolutely unable to stay in those lines. I wavered, I swerved I hit my throttle and shot off in random directions. When I came around for my third attempt I realized I was not counter weighting, in fact I had been leaning into my turns.. This allowed my box to start getting a little better, my first figure eight was neat but the second one was still a bloated deranged thing and by the end I was in tears and saw my future as a motorcyclist delayed by my inability. I didn’t drop my bike, which was a bit better then one of the ladies. She grabbed her front break and in a classic maneuver went straight down. She was fine and her husband had to restrain himself from shooting across the course to aid her.

The next step was curves. My eyes a bit blurry from my tears and my boyfriends words of encouragement bouncing off my helmet (I was much to deep in my own misery to be rational) we started doing the 90 degree and 380(?) curves.

This was better. The curves I was able to peg one after one. I started rolling onto my throttle and dropping my bike into them like it was meant to go. Each time, for a handful of seconds I had the briefest taste of what it must be like to go out on the road and have an entire clue.

Why couldn’t they have done this exercise first? My bike was finally warm, I was warm, and I felt capable again. Perhaps, I would be able to pass. I would screw up the box but if I nailed everything else it would be fine. Again there was a lack of leaning. The lady who had not passed previously was not getting her speed up. Two of the other guys who where riding for the first time also had serious problems increasing their speeds. Both did a good job of their figure eights, nice and neat, but they never put speed and lean into their exercises and the instructors where constantly after them. Ferrari woman also had a speed issue.


Next we went into straightening and stopping in a curve. This went very well for most of us. The young man on the ninjaette dropped his bike. He was still in the turn when he braked and bam over he went. The bike seemed undamaged from it. The lady that had previously failed kept anticipating her stops and along with her complete lack of speed she wasn’t even making it to the instructor. Ferrari woman missed the breaks and took off across the course for a bit.

We moved on from there to some emergency swerving and breaking. This started to restore my confidence. He also had us look at the start of the weaves we needed to do to get to the line again and stare at them while accelerating to show us that the motorcycle went where we looked. The first time I missed the weaves because I stalled out at the end of my swerve, and my shot nerves made me hit a big depressed bubble. I got back on my feet however, shook it off, because I wasn’t going to do well if I kept brooding over my inabilities.

I found the emergency swerves uncomfortable. Not because I had a problem but because I was holding my head up. I was doing well and getting a thumbs up from the instructor but the desire to LOOK at the lines to make sure I was clearing them was so great, that I was fighting it the whole time. But I had to fight, learning how to look properly is so important, but I had to keep asking if I was clearing the lines because I couldn’t see it.

We had about two small breaks. We kept pushing on because of the overcast sky and occasional rumble from it. Every time I got back on my bike it was cold again and I had to choke it and work with it to get it to run. This was making me a bit nervous.

We did lane changes, which wasn’t that bad. Helps understand the bikes balance a bit more. I think that was the bulk of what we did because as we where doing the lane changes a guy pulled up on something big and shiny with a custom paint job. He strolled over and talked to the instructors and we got the feeling that he was their boss and was coming to make sure the test was evaluated properly.

Then we got in line, got another break and they set up the practice course for the test. My boyfriend told me to relax, but I was sure that the box and I where going to destroy my hopes and dreams. I tried to compose myself as we went into the first emergency stop. I needed to go to that box and practice it. When I did it, one of the instructors had a card at the back of his book and sent me to the stop. I noticed him reference this card as he sent people to more emergency breaking or the box or alternated them. He had been taking notes, something I noticed the first day.

Yay!

Well when I got up to the box this time my eyes where the size of dinner plates. Others where wandering around the liens as well. I noticed a lot of feet going down, and the lady that was retaking the course was meandering out as far as I had been. That might not be so bad then. I listened to him tell everyone to look at the two sets of ones, one at the entrance and one at the exit as you do each piece. When I finally went in, I stayed in first, pulled in my clutch and snapped my head around like it was broken to stare at the entrance cones. I worked my clutch like my life was depending on it and snapped to look at the exit cones. I could hear my throttle roaring away because I was turning it without meaning to, but I had to clutch in and let just enough out to move me forward and poof I was out of the box. I kicked up into second and went to the emergency swerve and back into line for the emergency stop practice.

Flush with success I took the box a second time and nailed it again. Oh god. Maybe I would pass? I was shaking by the time I stopped and looked at the duel thumbs up my boyfriend had tossed at me. I watched the lady doing her retake finally nail the box. She then completely missed the emergency serve box in her glowing joy at getting the figure eight.

We did this for about twenty minutes and then we started our test. They asked if we wanted lunch and everyone said no, we just want to get it done. In between those points, Cat’s husband asked to sit on my bike. He was on a rebel which is quite low. He liked the position and feel of my bike a lot better then how low slung his rebel felt. I nodded and told him in a playful way to back away from the bike, we where a team.

The test started with the figure eight. I was eighth in line. First to go was Cat’s husband. He put each foot down once and went outside the box. The instructor told him “Keep going forget about this and go!” to the swerve. You could see him tense up and my heart was in my throat. My boyfriend, yet again, did a perfect and beautiful figure eight and flowed into the swerve box. The guy in front of me, one of the newer riders did his figure eight fine, but went so slowly into the swerve that he was called back to redo it.

My eyes hot and wide I went into my figure eight. I started the first U and my head snapped around to hold onto my entrance cones. I cleared the first U or felt I did and went into the second. The exit was my goal and I don’t think I blinked. I could hear my throttle revving up again but I feathered my clutch like a maniac and suddenly I was back upright and headed for the exit. I kicked up into second gear and made my swerve, stopped, got my left foot down and took off to the back of the line for the emergency stop.

I was in the box, I think. I know that I didn’t go wandering across the course this time. I had made it, and not been called back. I watched the remainders go through. The lady that had repeated did good with her box and made her swerve this time. Ferrari lady was last and her box went all over the place. They got her to go, but her body screamed dejection as she made a nice set of emergency swerves and came to join the line.

The emergency breaking was a bit smoother. Some went over a bit. Two had to repeat because of slow speeds. One was the guy in front of me again, and the other was the lady retaking the course. This took a little bit because they had to measure us. I did mine and for the first time noticed the white lines laid out at the end of the stop box. They also had a stop watch to time us to make sure we where moving fast enough through the various pieces.

Having nailed two out the three exercises I was feeling positive. If I could nail the curve I would pass this, even with failing the box. The curve was nice. The first guy to go through stopped to soon. He stopped at the instructors. Whoops. Then more went through and the 6th person also stopped at the instructors. The rest of us stopped where we should and no one had to repeat for speed.

With that, it was over. I felt a bit ill but we lined our bikes up at the storage containers and they told us we had all passed. We stared at them, shocked. “Everyone?”

“Yes everyone. Ha-ha, you failed, April fools, okay I’m done you passed dismount and get inside!”
We staggered off of our bikes and went inside. Cheers, yips, bounces, cries of joy abounded. We had passed we where done!

We got out cards and he said we could have our scores. He said that his boss said some of the skills on the course where very advanced for the class and Cat pointed at my boyfriend to say, “he used half the box on his figure 8!” Our instructor looks up and goes “So did she,” to me and I stared at him with my eyes huge going “huh?”

Most of us stayed for our score and he said, “Three people aced it. He called out my boyfriends name, who said “huh” and then got quite excited, then he called out *my* name! I was like “WHAT?” oh yes, he said, and I was going “you can use the whole box but no you didn’t need to.” The third person as Doug. At this point my boyfriend insists I was the star pupil. I disagree but he insisted I add that otherwise he will come and add the comment. He says that Doug has been riding forever, and I hadn’t ever ridden and got 100% on both parts. We’re not sure what Doug got on the written.

So we said goodbye to our second instructor and went to Outback.

Now we are about to go tot eh DMV. We have to take a little written test with them, but we took a bunch of the online

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#11 Unread post by jonnythan » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:07 am

Congrats on passing.

Keep up the blog. It's truly excellent. You perfectly captured the essence of my experiences, both pre-bike and through the entire MSF course.
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#12 Unread post by Apollofrost » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:29 am

Congrats!
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#13 Unread post by IcyHound » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:31 pm

I managed to get the falling part and first wreck thing over with quickly enough, but I will touch on that later.

We got to the DMV when it was still empty. The roads are very clear, I assume because it is Easter break for the children or something. We waited for about 15 minutes until we where called for a written test. VA demands that you take a written test even if you have passed MSF. That was fine, 25 questions, we had gone over everything last night. I sat down and things where looking fine.

Until around question six… and then 11… and then a few more. Adrenaline shot through my body and I began to breath faster. What was going on here? I tapped the screen carefully selecting my answer and breathed out a wash of relief as it said ‘correct’. Had I become stupid? No, I just wasn’t ready for the questions, some of them seemed to not make any sense…

But I passed, with the maximum amount wrong. Perhaps I should have seen it as a prelude to later.

I learned that I need to trust the bike and I need to not pay attention to who I am following. I took a corner to fast for my personal comfort (not to fast at all) and panicked and wound up going down. It was a ninety degree turn. The light had turned green and I was trying to make sure I made the green. In a way I forgot that I was on a bike when faced with such a normal traffic situation.

I think my boyfriend was more upset then I was. He thinks I am a better rider then I am. Sure I did well on the course but that doesn’t mean I really have as much confidence as I need, and I don’t. I should have taken the corner slower, but I didn’t and I reacted as if I was driving a car. In all it was very silly but I felt horrible that I had disappointed him, which led to the entire problem of me worrying to much about him and not enough about me.

I jumped back up and we got the bike moved. We kind of snapped at each other a bit but that was more stress then anything else. He forgets that I don’t have prior riding experience. I didn’t want to lead because I didn’t want him to comment on my riding. We sat down and discussed the entire thing and I had to remind him not to comment to me when he feels I am not doing something the way he does. This happens a lot when we are driving. It is not that he thinks I am inept in any way, he just wants things to go how he sees it and we’re not the same person. I don’t think to park in the same spot he would have picked, I may not go around a car he might, or I may change lanes because I happen to want to. I might choose a route he doesn’t or take a different way someplace he thinks is longer or unnecessary. He doesn’t mean to and the last time I discussed it with him about 3 years ago he stopped because he did not even realize he was doing it. I didn’t realize he was doing it to the point that I was subconsciously/consciously fretting over him doing it until this happened.

So we talked for a while, later at lunch. I told him that I needed him NOT to comment when he thought I needed to do more of something because he would. I spend too much time worrying about this and it will affect my already poor confidence. He understood. He had encouraged me to lead and I fought it and that was really the wrong thing to do. So now I am leading until I become more comfortable with what I am doing, this way I don’t pay attention to him. It is a subconscious thing. I’ve been driving cars for a decade now and I have a lot of habits that have to change.

I feel dumb in the end. I know what I did wrong and I didn’t repeat it, but I still feel dumb for that moment of panic. Yet, I know I should not. Tipping over at a velocity is something that you learn. I was doing fine for a bit but the feeling of it is not yet normal or natural. I wonder if I will ever be able to truly do any type of twisted road at any type of speed. I certainly do not yet enjoy turns, but I will continue to work on it. I am not scared but there isn’t any thrill, just an unpleasant sensation as my body tips to the side. It doesn’t bother him as it does me. He enjoys sliding the car on ice and sliding around empty parking lots in the snow. I do my best to avoid any type of situation like that and do admit I have been less then pleasant when he has done such things with me in the car.

I’m not a daredevil, a speed freak, or anything else. For me my pleasure will come when I learn this inside and out. I am now determined to. I’ve become a statistic to my disgust, so now it’s to make sure I don’t repeat it.

I bent the shift lever, popped off my right hand blinker and cracked the upper faring. We couldn’t get the shifter bent again and I worked my way slowly down the road to a shop. We pulled in and I asked if they had something we could try to bend the level back with since I had just wrecked.

I was in a remarkably good mood. They looked at the damage and said, “that’s not so bad, I’ve done worse and my brother, whoa.” So he helped bend the level back ever so slowly. The good news is that it is still bent out slightly and is MUCH easier for me to reach. We thanked them and started to take off and my bike died. WTF… I thought and after 2 attempts I realized the kick stand was down. Whoops.

My b/f uses his center stand, but I just can’t jerk the bike up on mine like he can. Anyway, we got to the county tax office and got our tax decals for the bikes making them 100% legal. Riding in traffic isn’t getting to me. It was the big open wide clear turn that I missed. Yet it was my first real turn after going down the road for about 10 miles. I am taking my corners slowly and looking through them. Pain really can be a good teacher and the few times I felt that internal panic well up I reminded myself to keep going through it. Yet it is still so incredibly hard to look so far ahead. Its unnatural, I feel like the rest of the world is sliding by me and I am not noticing it. It is not that I want to check the scenery it is that I want to be aware of where I am, but I need to be aware of where I am going instead.

This is a learning experience. My bike is bigger and heavier then the bike in class. It is not too much but is enough. I can not wrap my mind around starting on these huge displacement bikes. I respect my bike thoroughly. Its not about ‘respect’ of the bike and ‘wrist’ control its about knowing what the "fudge" you are doing automatically.

As we left town and headed to the next stop for lunch I met with something else new. Wind. It was a lovely day with a nice breeze. A breeze that proceeded to beat on me for the next 20 minutes. I drove a bit under the speed limit and pissed off a *lot* of cars. Oh well for them. How many of us have been stuck behind a car on a narrow road on a lovely day? Well they where stuck behind us because I was leading and the wind was making me dance all over the road.

With a slight sigh of relief I hit the main road and this time we where kind of headed into the wind. It wasn’t that much better. It beat us, buffeted us, smacked us around, made my bike slow down at times. I was still not up in my confidence level but it was a two lane road and the cars could pass on by as I rode at my comfort level. I had learned a lot about 45 minutes ago and most of it was that I had to focus on me and what I was doing.

The funny thing is that town and traffic where not bothering me. Of course I don’t live in a city like New York or Boston. But I could deal with it. Lights where fine, the roads where fine. I even used my signal (sans the broken one I left on the road) and did a lovely job.

We had dinner and headed back home. The path back home led to the other side of my road which is twisted. I was worried for this road can be harrowing in a car, but it barely made me twitch on my bike. I did ride the speed limit. I don’t know if I improved or if it was the road or what. Perhaps I had finally settled into the proper mindset.

But we reached the house. My driveway is gravel and I wound up slipping and putting the bike down in the driveway. No damage this time but again, silly. I rolled my eyes, but I was actually mired in gravel when this happened, I should have moved a bit faster but these are things you learn.

So three hours of riding, 1 drop, 1 wreck, a nicer dinner, and a deeper understanding of what I am doing. I’m not really upset, more pensive. I’m not upset nor fearful. Perhaps getting through the first wreck and stuff has helped. I am stiff, a bit sore and rather tired from everything that has happened.

I look forward to my next ride. It will be tomorrow morning. I also look forward to a greater comfort level so that I can enjoy myself more. And less wind. Less wind would have helped. Being smacked all over the road when one is not even sure they can stay on the road is not that confidence inspiring.

But confidence comes with time. I’m not a cocky person. I ‘respect’ my bike, but this isn’t about anything but learning, making mistakes, and improving.

I’m glad I didn’t start on anything bigger.

And I am not upset that I got a new bike and dinged it up. I am vastly tired of people saying to buy a used bike someone else has beaten on and beat it up. It’s my bike, they are my scars and my learning curve. I will replace the cracked faring in a couple of months. I also got a big nasty dent in my first car making a bad corner. I never did anything else to it so perhaps we have moved past this.

If not, so be it. I will only learn by doing and only live by learning.

Oh yes and as for practice. We are doing what we can but the nearest school is around 20 miles away, as is the nearest park and the nearest store is about 15. I do kind of live in the middle of no where. We did practice some but there are not empty tracks of land and few paved streets to turn onto. Most of the paved streets are covered in a layer of gravel and sand from the snow.

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#14 Unread post by Scoutmedic » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:06 pm

Congrats on passing and also on getting back on the "horse" after your accident. :clapping:

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No more flights

#15 Unread post by IcyHound » Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:48 pm

Today was a better day.

Clear, warm, and very little wind. We set our game plan for a few well maintained back roads. Our goal was to wind up at the fire station my boyfriend volunteers, have lunch, then go to my job, and then home. It worked out, kind of.

The back road we chose was a good one. Lots of curves that where not to tight. I think it would be different in my car but the motorcycle needs much less of the road. There where plenty of signs warning of the turns and I took them easily. I settled in and looked into them, the memory of my short flight through the air from yesterday very clear.

We reached route 50 and cruised down that. I kept up with traffic, having settled more into my bike. From there we decided to go down a local road that would take us near Tim’s fire station. This is where our plan stared to go down a bit. We took that road all right, and somewhere along the way it turned off and we didn’t. We wound up in Herndon and had to make our way back to Loudoun.

This sucked a bit. The road we took to cut across has recently been rerouted. It ended in an abrupt 90% turn that I wasn’t expecting. I almost panicked but managed to stop instead, take a breath and make the corner. This was my only true panic moment this ride and now, after the rest of the ride I think I could have taken that corner.

Right now stoplights are my friend. I adore them. I also drive the speed limit, much to the irritation of the cages around me. Oh well. I have to learn somehow. I made sure to consciously relax my grip and relax my elbows. My wrists are not tired; I’m supporting myself with my legs, tummy and back. I am sore. This is quite a work out. I am sore all over.

We made it to the fire station and stopped for some water. I was winded after getting lost on top of the start of the ride down an unknown street. From there we had lunch at Panara, and I reminded Tim to eat lightly. It would suck to have a full stomach and be over heated.

From there we decided to get gas. We had done about 120 miles at this point. So, off to the gas station. We chose the one near my job that I normally go to. At one of the divided highways we met an edge trap. I went over it straight and then made my turn. Nice and uneventful, yes!

At the gas station a young man wandered over to us and admired the bikes. We talked to him and told him about MSF and such. Encouraged him to sign up for it and see if it’s what he has to do since he doesn’t have to get gear. Told him how starter bikes are really cheap and affordable. He asked us about insurance, since he is 25 and we where honest with him but also said that smaller displacement bikes will be kinder on the pocket. I’m only 27 after all.

That was a lot of fun. There was also a guy that kept eyeing us while trying not to be obvious. My low speed stuff is fine and I made the sharp angles out of the gas station without any problems. I’ve started to trust the bike.

Back home up rt 7 was awesome and we roared along at 70 (indicated) mph. Cars still passed us but whatever. I changed lanes as I needed to and really relaxed into the bike. The only bit of discomfort was the turn to get onto the mountain. The turn lane is short so I slowed down a bit. Someone on a red Katana shot past us and waved. I waved back, having made sure to wave all day as we passed other people.

The last turn was almost eventful. It’s a short lane and then a left in the median. I wound up stopping and then going slowly into that left. Not graceful, not impressive, but I am not comfortable stopping at a turn. My biggest worry of getting across the road was fine. My starting is really getting a lot smoother and I didn’t stall out at all today.

And home. Without falling in the driveway. After all that nice pavement the gravel felt awful.

And now I’m home and sore.

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#16 Unread post by KarateChick » Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:26 pm

Icy,

Nice blog, nice bikes, congrats on passing! :D
Ya right, :wink: there are only 2 kinds of bikes: It's a Ninja... look that one's a Harley... oh there's a Ninja... Harley...Ninja...

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#17 Unread post by jonnythan » Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:45 pm

... Where do you guys live?
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Bike 1 - Mel 2

#18 Unread post by IcyHound » Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:11 pm

I am thankful that I have a small amount of common sense.

My desire to ride to work has been overwhelming. The weather has not been in agreement with my desire. As I sat Tuesday, and watched the temps plummet my common sense began to war with my desire. The fight has dragged on for over a day and finally, as I looked out at the clear fridged day I had a bit of an idea.

Why not go out while it is sunny and clear and cold before we go out when its dark and cloudy and cold?

Ohm… what an idea…

So I went to town. I put on a t-shirt, long sleeved shirt, my arm chaps, my liner back into my heavy textile jacket, and that jacket, wrapped up and went out. I quickly learned that I need cold weather gloves. I next learned that hugging my tank to keep my legs nice and warm and improves my riding position. I’ve been trying to hug the tank but I had more incentive, one might day.

My riding has improved. I’m adjusting to the controls and the feel of my bike. I live on a mountain (not a super high one but it counts as one) and the last bit is a very steep down hill to the divided highway. There was a eighteen wheeler and a car in front of me. I had no problem shifting down and drifting in behind them.

My route was simple. I took the main road to the local route and the local route into town. Its about ten miles or so. From there I stopped, had a snack at McDonalds (not my fav place but very few options in town) and took the local route back to the main road and the main road back home.

I am very pleased with myself. I only stalled out once when attempting to leave the McDonalds parking lot at a very slow speed to creep between two cars letting me merge in. I slowed for my turns but did not panic and did not have to come to a compete stop before turning.

I relaxed. I relaxed a lot. No death grip on my bars. Loose arms. The wind kicked and punched but it wasn’t that bad. A few side gusts did slam me a bit. The bike is rock steady. I’m falling I love with it. Its doing everything I want without flinching.

I’m going to get some epoxy compound and try to reseal the plastic when I take the front faring off to install my new blinker. The blinker is on its way as well, it should be here this weekend. It won’t be perfect but it should stop the crack from spreading. Right now its right at the curve of the plastic so not very noticeable until you are close or looking for it.

A rather nice man eating some ice cream at McDonalds talked to me as I was gearing up. He used to ride a Honda 750 something, adored the bike. We chattered for a few minutes and I wished him a good day and was off.

Good stuff. I can feel my happiness meter start to fill

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IcyHound
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#19 Unread post by IcyHound » Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:15 pm

jonnythan wrote:... Where do you guys live?
Northern VA

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jonnythan
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#20 Unread post by jonnythan » Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:11 pm

IcyHound wrote:
jonnythan wrote:... Where do you guys live?
Northern VA
Oh OK. You talked about Rt 7 and then some of the description sounded very familiar (albeit a bit generic) so I thought maybe you guys were in my backyard ;)
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonnythan/sets/]Flickr.[/url]

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